1. strong liquor; often as cold tea under cold adj., brandy.
|Life in London (1869) 278: Matters of etiquette being adjusted, it was not long before ‘the tea’ was introduced.|
|St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: They nominate ‘bottled electricity,’ ‘lemonade with a stick in it,’ ‘jig-water,’ ‘budge,’ ‘bilge-water,’ ‘bug-juice,’ ‘rat-poison,’ ‘fusel-oil,’ ‘red-eye,’ ‘liquid ointment,’ ‘cut nails,’ ‘hard head,’ ‘benzine,’ ‘nitro-glycerine,’ ‘oil,’ ‘tea,’ ‘eye-water,’ ‘chain- lightning.’ [...] they all want the same article, alcohol, more or less diluted.|
|DSUE (1984) 1208/1: from ca. 1690.|
2. urine [1970s+ use is gay].
|Trivia (1716) Bk II 20: Who ’gainst the Centry’s Box discharge their Tea.|
|Queens’ Vernacular 194: tea 1. (Brit gay sl) urine.|
3. (US) whisky.
|Holiday on Road 370: We had a camp-kettle with us [...] Tea or coffee were always at our command, Scotch tea also (i.e. whisky) .|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 15 Nov. 4/7: Should we run a shop / Which must sell no liquor / ‘Tea’ could mean a drop / Of illicit shicker / [...] / Whisky, beer or brandy.|
|Babbitt (1974) 83: There’s a lot of smart college professors and tea-guzzling slobs in this burg.|
|Nigger Heaven 158: Have some tea! Adora passed Howard a silver flask.|
|All These Condemned (2001) 135: Hit the tea and steal liquor.|
|Murder in Mount Holly (1999) 64: Oo! You like your tea, don’t you now?|
|Union Dues (1978) 265: ‘There was a man who lived for his tea.’ ‘That he did.’.|
|(con. 1967) Reckoning for Kings (1989) 17: He watched carefully until the old man had drunk his third cup of ‘tea.’.|
4. in drug uses [the OED citation from the Boston Sunday Herald (26 March 1967), ‘Marijuana…when brewed with hot water’ is prob. a teasing hippie n.2 (3) gulling a foolish journalist].
(a) (drugs) marijuana.
|[song title] ‘Texas Tea Party.’.|
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 15 May 20/1: Sax-playing Scotty [...] was picked up by the FBI after telling his snatch board that [...] he liked his ‘tea’ in sticks.|
|Fads & Fancies 1 3: For those who don’t know, marijuana (or tea or weed or gauge — there is a whole new language here) is a drug [...] smoked in cigarettes known as reefers or mezzes or muggles. If you are in the habit of smoking [...] you are a ‘viper’ and when you are experiencing the full effects of the drug you are ‘high’.|
|On The Road (1972) 83: You could smell tea, weed, I mean marijuana, floating in the air.|
|Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 31: ‘Pot — Shit — Tea — Gunja — Tampi — Reefers — Weed — or if you want me to be really square — Indian Hemp!’.|
|Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 102: ‘Pot?’ I asked. ‘Tea. Marijuana. Hashish’.|
|Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 158: We had guys who smoked tea all the time.|
|Up the Cross 93: ‘Hemp. Grass. Tea. Mary Jane. Pot. Marijuana, Call it what you like’.(con. 1959)|
|(con. 1930s) Addicts Who Survived 240: In those days it was called ‘gage,’ ‘weed,’ or ‘tea.’.|
|(con. early 1950s) L.A. Confidential 54: Half the people in the Industry blow tea from time to time.|
|Guardian Rev. 18 Mar. 3: Louis Armstong [...] used ‘muggles’ and ‘tea.’.|
(b) a marijuana cigarette.
|🎵 Light a ‘tea’ and let it be / If you’re a viper.‘If You’re a Viper’|
|Marihuana Problem in City of N.Y. in Indian Hemp (1952) 34: The common names for the cigarettes are: muggles, reefers [...] tea, gage and sticks.|
|Pimp 124: Light a tea and let it be.|
|ONDCP Street Terms 21: Tea — Marijuana; PCP.|
a brandy flask.
|Newton Dogvane (1888) 184: Phew! Pass us the tea-canister .|
(drugs) a marijuana smoker; also attrib.
|letter 24 June in Charters I (1995) 197: I start thinking about the mad beret-characters who actually make these movies in crazy California (the tea-head Mitchums, the horn-rimmed directors).|
|Junkie (1966) 28: She knew a lot of teaheads.|
|City of Night 96: The small-time pushers, the teaheads, the sad panhandlers.|
|Sheeper 8: My fifteen-year-old teahead friend. [Ibid.] 187: He is [...] toking his joint like a pro, a true teahead.|
|Underground Dict. (1972).|
|Bill [...] on the Planet of Robot Slaves (1991) 45: I am going to do a little catching up with you teaheads, dopeheads and boozeheads.|
|Guardian Rev. 12 May 6: His hellish descent into a world of perverts [...] and wall-eyed tea-heads.|
1. (orig. US black) a marijuana smoker; also attrib.
|Down Beat’s Yearbook of Swing n.p.: tea hound : a marijuana smoker.|
|(con. early 1930s) Harlem Glory (1990) 43: They were far removed from the [...] tea-hounds of the reefer joints.|
|Book of Negro Folklore 362: Sister Lou got frantic and all in a rage, / Like a tea hound dame on some frantic gage.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Straight from the Fridge Dad 185: Tea hound A marijuana smoker.|
2. see also SE compounds below.
(US) a place, e.g. a bar or club, where marijuana can be smoked.
|Neon Wilderness (1986) 149: Doc had me take him to Dreamland then, a tea joint with a cigar-store front on South Dearborn.|
(US) a smoker of marijuana.
|Lang. Und. (1981) 110/1: tea-man. A reefer-man or marijuana addict.‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in|
|DAUL 220/2: Tea-man. A smoker or purveyor of marijuana.et al.|
|(con. 1940s) Reprieve 237: An addict is a viper, a snake, a goof, a T-man. In Dannemora we had mostly vipers.|
|Narcotics Lingo and Lore 182: Tea hound [...] a smoker of marihuana cigarettes [...] Tea man – Same as Tea hound.|
(drugs) a place for smoking marijuana.
|Jitterbug Jamboree Song Book 33: teapad. anyplace where they smoked weed.|
|LaGuardia Committee Report on Marihuana 🌐 The investigator would bring up the subject of smoking. This would invariably lead to the suggestion that they obtain some marihuana cigarettes. They would seek a ‘tea-pad,’ and if it was closed the smoker and our investigator would calmly resume their previous activity.|
|Traffic In Narcotics 315: tea-pad. A marihuana smoking den.|
|Narcotics Lingo and Lore.|
|Drugs from A to Z (1970) 240: tea pad Rooms in apartments or pup tents on the roof in Harlem where marijuana was sold and users gathered and smoked marijuana communally in the 1930s and 1940s.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 109: I took over Bozo’s apartment and turned it into a tea pad and thieves’ den.‘Detroit Redhead’ in|
|🌐 Poring over these jazz sides now, one gets hep to the mixed emotions that fogged up the tea pad as youngsters of all sorts got their first blast.in Dusted Mag. at Trikont.com|
1. a drinking binge.
|Woodfill of the Regulars 41: Then he went on a big drunk — ‘tea parties,’ that gang called ’em.|
2. (drugs) a gathering of people for the purpose of communal smoking of marijuana.
|Chicago Defender 7 Dec. 17: [They] made things hot with their Sunday afternoon ‘tea parties’.|
|Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 10 Sept. 10/7: Musicians say that the kids frequently invite them to a ‘tea’ party [...] They say the reefer habit stemmed from Harlem.|
|N.Y. Amsterdam News 19 July 17: The bebopper [...] has ‘tea parties’ in his little one and a halfer.|
|(con. 1938) Cell 2455 111: That night they had a ‘tea party.’ Even in those days marijuana was plentiful.|
|Last Exit to Brooklyn 24: She had come home one morning with one of her friends after a three day tea party.|
|ONDCP Street Terms 21: Tea Party — To smoke marijuana.|
(US drugs) a marijuana cigarette.
|Real Jazz Old and New 104: He mixed with vipers on the reefer trail [...] but there isn’t much record that he went for tea-sticks himself.|
(US gay) dark glasses.
|Queens’ Vernacular 117: sunglasses [...] tea-timers.|
|Gay Sl. Dict. 🌐.|
(drugs) to smoke marijuana.
|Queens’ Vernacular 194: read the tea leaves to smoke grass.|
to get drunk.
|DN III:viii 591: tea up, v. To become intoxicated.‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in|
|Hand-made Fables 269: [She] had read somewhere that during the Alcoholic Age the Victims would tea up in order to Drown their Sorrows.|
SE in slang uses
(N.Z. prison) an illegal water boiling device.
|dissertation U. Auckland 341: [A]n illegal tea-bomb short-circuited, fusing all the lights on the upper landing of A Block.‘Social Organization of Prisons’ in|
|Big Huey 77: Junk used to pull out his water-boiling gadget, called a tea bomb, and make up a brew of illegal tea [...] 245: Bomb (n) Illegal water-boiling device.|
|Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 185/2: tea bomb (also bomb or tea bong) n. an illegal water boiling device.|
(N.Z. prison) an inmate who acts as a ‘servant’ for a senior, more influential prisoner.
|Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 186/2: tea boy n. 1 (also tea bum) an inmate who acts as a runner or a servant for another senior inmate, and whose main role is to make cups of tea for him.|
1. an evening party.
|Charcoal Sketches (1865) 77: It’s a complete nuisance to be so tall [...] if you go to a tea-fight, the people are always tumbling over your trotters, and breaking their noses, which is what young ladies ain’t partial to.|
|Knickerbocker (NY) Nov. 534: [I] wish to hand in my experience of a small tea-fight, in which I was bombarded by a piano.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
|Carlisle Patriot 29 Dec. 6/4: Sir Wilfred Lawson at a ‘Tea Fight’. At the annual soirée of the Kirkeswald Literary Institution [...] Sir Wilfred Lawson was one of the speakers.|
|Observer and Freelance (Wellington) 29 Aug. 9/4: The gem of the evening at the tea-fight was a laughing duet by P. and Sally.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 23 Aug. 5/3: One of the most famous, but exceedingly modest divines, who attended a ‘tea fight’ one evening [etc].|
|Hull Dly Mail 30 Apr. 3/7: Wesleyan minister [...] attended an anniversary tea-fight.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 17 Oct. 1/3: Another Tommy, by way of a gee, said it was a dead head ticket for a tea fight.|
|Sport (Adelaide) 5 Feb. 5/1: One of the whippets from C.B. had no luck at the tea fight [...] .|
2. a tea party; note ad hoc vars. in 1906, 1914 cits.
|Hood’s Mag. (London) 40 July-Dec. 357: Mr. Juniper Tipple did stop; and his prowess at the ‘tea-fight’ was a thing to marvel at. His eloquence was as soft and soothing as the buttered toast that hissed beside them on the hob.|
|Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 174: I don’t want to ask any old dowager I happen to fall in with at a tea-fight, whether she believes all the crammers that Herodotus tells us.|
|Mr Sprouts, His Opinions 162: On Wednesday we ’ad a tea fight.|
|Little Mr. Bouncer 14: You look as if you had been at a tea-fight or muffin-worry and had taken more hot toast than was good for your digestion.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 26 June 3/2: The officer in question is a ‘curled darling’ at tea-fights.|
|Northampton Mercury 6 Jan. 9/3: A Monster Blue Ribbon Tea — What was probably the largest ‘tea-fight’ that has ever taken place in Northampton was held [...] in the Corn Exchange.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 11/4: A local preacher died in the topmost fury of a tea-fight in New Zealand town, the other week. […] / He lived his life well; / His death was the quickest / On record – he fell / Where the muffins were thickest!|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 7 June 4/1: Peace, sobriety, virtue and other things will be blended with politics and tea-fights.|
|No. 5 John Street 53: ‘Well, kind of a tea-fight,’ he returns [...] I look to Tilda for confirmation. ‘Come to tea next Sunday?’ says the girl.|
|Wash. Post 15 Jan. 4/3: The young man of tender years [...] has a vocabulary which would put Webster to shame [...] Sis is ‘dotty’ over her beau, chases ‘tea fights’ [...].|
|Burra Record (SA) 25 Apr. 5/5: They Say [...] That at the next tea-fuddle a regiment of soldiers are going to patrol the Booborowie Church.|
|Burra Record (SA) 2 Jan. 3/5: They Say [...] That with all the troubled waters at Hanson it can knock up a cheque of over £14 at it tea fight.|
|Dew & Mildew 134: ‘I am a man. I shall have a Club some day [...] You will only [...] go to tabby tea-fights’.|
|Cockney At Home 159: If I go to the early supper there’s bound to be ham-sandwiches at the tea-fight, which I’m partial to; whereas [...] if I do go to the tea-fight there won’t be any ham at all.|
|Ade’s Fables 263: But she had taken a peek at the Palm Rooms and the powdered Lackeys and the Tea Riot at the Plaza, and she was panting inwardly.‘The New Fable of the Lonesome Camp’ in|
|Ade’s Fables 100: At every Tea Battle and Cookie Carnival he was hailed as the Big Hero.‘The New Fable of the Uplifter’ in|
|letter 4 May in Paige (1971) 176: The matter re pavilion was broached at a tea fight 3 days before I left Paris.|
|Diary I (1950) 33: Yesterday I went to a party [...] It was sort of a little tea fight (at four) and there were ten people there.|
|Dover Express 11 Mar. 9/4: They say that Upper Biggin Street ought to have the customary tea fight on the completion of the repairs to their street.|
(Aus.) one who attends a tea party (and by implication dislikes alcohol).
|Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Aug. 7/1: If these whey-blooded petitioners have their way, no man will be able to take his ease in his inn without running the risk of being hustled off to the gaol or the lunatic asylum, and the tea-fighter and muffin-worrier will reign alone in the land.|
1. a man who frequents tea parties.
|Howitzer (West Point) 109: Leland Stanford Hobbs, Jr. — Yes, this is the pride of Jersey City, West Point's most famous athlete, shining social light, teahound, and ‘wounded hero’!|
|‘New York Day by Day’ 4 Sept. [synd. col.] The wrist watch used to be the insignia of a pomaded tea guzzler, but now it sometimes means arough neck, horny fists and hair on the chest.|
|Columbian Eve. Missourian (MO) 19 Nov. 3/4: Teahounds infesting Missouri University [...] It has but lately come to Columbia and is thought to have evolved [...] from fop, dude, lounge-lizard and couch-cootie.|
|Arrowsmith 454: By golly, I need somebody like him, with [...] all these tea-hounds around me!|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 599: It’s the game for tea-hounds and parlour athletes.Judgement Day in|
2. a womanizer.
|Howitzer 152: He became so dainty and spoony that the farmer boy was soon lost to view, and we saw rather the apparent tea-hound and parlor-snake.|
|Bits of New York Life 20 Dec. [synd. col.] Husbands who should be elsewhere, and the professional tea hounds.|
|Black Mask Aug. III 15: The tea hound of a husband.|
|AS III:2 131: A student who spends much time in the society of the ladies is ‘a heavy-cake’ or ‘a tea hound.’.‘College Sl.’ in|
3. see also sl. compounds above.
see separate entry.
(US gay) an all-woman bar catering to lesbians.
|(con. 1930s)Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers 107: A few bars congenial to lesbians still existed in the ’30s [...] There were even several ‘tea shops’that catered to lesbians on the Near North Side of Chicago.|
see bun-struggle under bun n.3
see separate entry.
(US) a tea party.
|Crockett Almanacks (1955) 7: She was at a tea-squall at one of the neighbors.in Meine|
|Clockmaker III 231: One time we had a tea-squall to our house, and Susan handed about the tea.|
|Lecture upon Narcotic Stimulants 12: The Boston Tea party, where the Young Gentelmen [sic] made the Tea in a hurry, with cold water, (and salt at that) [...] There were no women at that tea squall, and the men ran the thing.|
|Yankee Notions 12 300: ‘Feast ov reson, and flo ov soal;’ I've seen this afore now, at a tea squall ov wimmin folks.|
|Friends & Acquaintances 137: Theres a swell come to Hoppety's tea-squall,' said the bricklayer's labourer with a grin.|
|Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: tea towel holder euph. Anus. From the 1950s plastic ‘finger poke style’ kitchen accessory.|
|personal correspondence: tea towel holder – the anus. Derived from the fact that those round plastic holders that you push tea towels into resemble the anus.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
1. a phr. used to deride something, or someone, considered of little or no value, e.g. ‘Expensive? He gives them away…’.
|[||Squire’s Hat 171: The nice little stone-ware teapot ‘to be given away with a pound of tea’].|
|Western Times 22 June 4/2: Bull’s Shopman, you see, is in generous mood, / As ‘wonderful bargains’ his wares are arrayed, / And treasures — no wonder you jump with glee! / Are ‘Given away with a Pound of Tea!’.|
|Sporting Times 7 Feb. 4/4: Mincing Lane Friend — You deserve to be given away with a pound of tea.|
|‘Dads Wayback’ in Sun. Times (Sydney) 23 Aug. 3/3: ‘[w]e shall be like Chicargo, where divorces is give away with a pound o’ tea].|
|Bath Chron. 9 Apr. 3/3: Mr Oliver exclaimed: Don’t they give them away with a pound of tea (laughter).|
|Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 91: ‘Ellen Tommy!’ wailed the rapid marrier, ‘carn’t a man give hisself away with a pound iv tripe?’.|
|Hull Dly Mail 19 June 4/5: What is the good of upholding an Empire that seeks to give itself away for a pound of tea.|
|Western Morn. News 19 Apr. 11/2: The Government would find that the country would not accept Tory policy, even when given away with a pound of tea.|
|Cockney 273: Disparagement of a thing or a person is contained in, ‘They give ’em away with a pound of tea.’.|
2. an ironic reply by a criminal to questions referring to the origins of obviously stolen goods in his possession,e.g. ‘Stolen goods, officer? No. Give them away…’.
|Signs of Crime 185: Give them away with a pound of tea, they Ironic explanation when asked to account for the possession of an obviously stolen and valuable article.|
|From the Abyss to the Foreign Legion 102: All that day and night the cry was going round of ‘So and So has died’; ‘He’s gone for his,’ and so on.|
|Signs of Crime 204: Tea, go for your To die.|
|(con. 1920s) Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 218: He’s gone for his tea (anyone killed or after dying).|
(US gay) to have sex in a public lavatory.
(orig. Aus.) on no account, no chance whatsoever; occas. in positive use.
|Yale Yarns 60: Haley can’t pitch for a tinker’s —.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Dec. 16/3: ‘Don’t call me your God – I wouldn’t be your blessed god for all the meat in China, old man,’ I said flippantly.|
|Cockney At Home 282: ‘Can’t sing for monkey nuts!’ he said.|
|Wash. Post 2 Sept. 6: The good word from Dade Park is Eloise, which will run for all the tea in China in the sixth cant. [Ibid.] 19 Dec. 18: Mickey D. will go for all the tea in China this aft down at Kenney Park.|
|Cobbers 26: Some men here wouldn’t leave the place for all the tea in China.|
|Come in Spinner (1960) 46: I wouldn’t let ’im see me in a thing like that. Not for all the rice in China.|
|Jennings’ Diary 219: I’m not opening this trunk again for all the tea in China.|
|Bunch of Ratbags 121: He scared me so much that I wouldn’t have cried for all the tea in China.|
|Thanatos 181: Up yours, eunoch. I wouldn’t go to bed with you for mink.|
|(con. 1916) Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 143: ‘Captain, aren’t you going in with me?’ Dinkle entreated. ‘Not for all the tea in China, my boy.’.|
|Muvver Tongue 89: A person averring that he would not be persuaded to do something by anyone says: ‘Not for King Dick I wouldn’t!’.|
|Donkey’s Years 184: On she would not go for all the tea in China; no argument could shift her.|
1. (Aus.) to consort with someone, to associate with someone.
|DSUE (8th edn) 1198: since ca. 1880.|
2. (UK Und.) to outsmart a clever person or to defeat someone in authority.
|Signs of Crime 204: Tea with, take Act with covert impertinence towards someone (usually someone in authority), or to take advantage of someone; to outwit a clever person (not used in respect of ‘mugs’).|
see tea-and-sugar adj.
(Aus.) a formal afternoon tea for a number of guests, a minor social get-together.
|Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 32: ‘tea and tattle party’ [...] afternoon teas or tea meetings.|
|Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.|
|I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 240/2: tea-and-tattle – an afternoon tea or get-together.|
a phr. used to indicate that there is no tea; i.e. one is simply SE turned out.
|Sporting Mag. Dec. XXI 163/2: In a pleasant village near the metropolis, noted for its constant ‘tea and turn out parties.’.|
|Tales of Field & Flood 133: The evening entertainments were of that kind denominated ‘Tea and Turn-out,’ — a mode of treating one’s friends having the show of hospitality, but denying the power thereof.|
|Figaro in London 23 July 123/1: Mr. Horace Twiss invited several friends to a tea and turn-out last Tuesday. Owing to some unforeseen difficulty in the purchase of the tea [...] his friends preferred dispensing with the tea.|
|Songs & Ballads 2 235: There’s nothing like tea-and-turn-out.|
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 241/2: Tea and turn out (Peoples’, 19 cent.). A roundabout way of saying there is no supper.|
to make tea.
|Paddiana I 149: Blood an’ ouns! will I wet the tay now, ma’am?|
|My Lady of the Chimney Corner 184: Mary ‘wet’ a pot of tea and warmed up a few farrels of fadge.|
|Islanders (1933) 84: Susan Manus made tea for them all, and she without knowing the joy Mary Doogan thought to take out of baking that flour and wetting that tea.|
|(con. 1890s) Pictures in the Hallway 6: Johnny’s mother had wet the tea, and was sitting thoughtfully by the fire.|
|Scarperer (1966) 54: He was annoyed, having just wet a pot of tea for himself and his assistant.|
|Bodhrán Makers 283: Go downstairs, woman, [...] and wet us a sup of tea.|
|Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Wet the tea (v): make tea.|
(N.Z.) a call to indicate that it is time for a tea-break; thus as n.
|Whitcombe’s Modern Junior Dict. 407: Tea-oh In Australia and New Zealand, an interval for tea during working hours [DNZE].|
|Encyc. N.Z. II 679: The back country runs have quite a vocabulary of their own [...] Amongst these are [...] terms like cow paddock [...] and teaoh [DNZE].|